RENO, NV (KOLO) Not only do firefighters face a physical fight when they combat flames from structure or wildfires, but a mental battle as well. Both the Reno Fire Department and the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District have implemented peer support groups.
“There’s been a stigma in the fire service since the fire service began and that’s: we have to be tough we have to be these strong individuals that everything we experience we can handle it, and we can’t always handle it,” Captain Derek Reid, of TMFPD, says.
According to the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance 82 firefighters died by suicide in 2018. These numbers they say, are likely under reported because of the stigma surrounding suicide.
The peer support groups aim to reduce that stigma and give firefighters a safe place to go for help.
“We know each other and we know what we’re going through because we live together and so we can understand things from a specific perspective so we can make a connection with someone and often times that helps when it’s a familiar place,” Captain Eric Lieberman, of RFD, says.